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Kenseth fastest in first dry run in the desert

March 01, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

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Kyle Busch clinches Joe Gibbs Racing 1-2 on Phoenix practice sheet

Matt Kenseth vaulted to the top of the speed chart Friday in the first practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix International Raceway.

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Kenseth, in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, turned a lap of 137.023 mph in preparation for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500, the second race of the season for NASCAR's top series. That speed edged teammate Kyle Busch's 136.976 mph lap by a margin of nine thousandths of a second.

LEADERBOARD: Sprint Cup practice

Mark Martin was third-fastest with JGR's Denny Hamlin, the 500-kilometer race's defending champ, fourth in a top-four sweep by Toyotas. Carl Edwards completed the top five in a Ford.

Daytona 500 champ Jimmie Johnson turned in the sixth-fastest lap on the 1-mile oval.

Rookie Danica Patrick, fresh from her historic eighth-place finish at Daytona, was 30th-fastest of the 43 cars -- more than half a second off the leader's pace.

Kasey Kahne ran the most laps -- 31 -- in the practice session, notching the ninth-fastest time.

The session was slowed by a yellow flag 18 minutes into practice because of debris in turn three.

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